Hurricanes-Senators Preview

Milan Michalek had arguably his best performance yet on his hot streak this weekend while leading the Ottawa Senators to their first victory on their season-high homestand.

The Senators will try to build on that effort Monday night while sending the Carolina Hurricanes to a third consecutive defeat.

Michalek registered his season high for points with two goals and an assist in a 7-2 rout of Edmonton on Saturday. The winger has scored seven of his 10 goals and recorded four assists in his last 13 contests.

Michalek also scored the tiebreaking goal in a 2-1 victory in Buffalo on Tuesday.

"Hopefully, I'm getting my confidence back and feeling much more comfortable on the ice," Michalek said. "I'm a streaky guy, most guys are, but hopefully I can keep it going."

Ottawa (22-22-10) snapped a season-high three-game home losing streak with Saturday's victory and improved to 2-0-1 in its last three overall. Five other players scored as the team matched its highest output of the season.

"When we're successful it's everybody kicking in," coach Dave Cameron said. "It's always nice when you get multiple guys scoring because that's a multiple dose of confidence. The more confidence you can have on your team, spreading throughout your team, obviously the better chance you're going to have."

When they continue their five-game homestand, the Senators will face a team that's 2-3-2 in its last seven. Carolina (19-28-7), though, had won back-to-back road games before a 6-3 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

The Hurricanes couldn't overcome an early 3-0 deficit, getting as close as one goal in the second period before giving up two scores in the final one.

"We have to be better at the start of the game. We weren't ready to play. A couple of tweaks on the breakdowns we had, and we need to raise the battle level," forward Jeff Skinner told the team's official website. "We need to play more angry and more desperate and raise the compete level."

Carolina scored the opening goal in Ottawa on Jan. 17 but needed two more in the third period for a 3-2 victory, its seventh in the last nine matchups. The Hurricanes had lost in each of their previous two visits to the Senators.

Anton Khudbobin made 30 saves in the fourth of six consecutive wins. He's given up a combined 10 goals in back-to-back losses.

Because of those struggles, the Hurricanes then could turn to Cam Ward on Monday. He's 4-0-1 with a 1.17 goals-against average in his last five matchups with Ottawa.

Justin Faulk and Nathan Gerbe each had a goal and an assist in the third period in the last meeting. Gerbe has a team-best five points (two goals, three assists) in the past three matchups with Ottawa.

He's also gone without a point in seven consecutive contests, one shy of matching a season high, while Faulk has five assists in his last three games.

Michalek has one goal in his last 12 games against Carolina and no points in his last four meetings.

Cameron said he doesn't expect to have Chris Neil available for "a while" after the forward broke his left thumb in a fight Saturday, and it's unknown if Clarke MacArthur will return from an illness.


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